We are currently working our way along the Loire Valley. We have always wanted to visit this area for a couple of reasons, mainly to see some of the magnificent Chateaus and the second reason to visit a couple of vineyards.
Our first stop was the Chateau de Chenonceau. This chateau is one of the most visited Chateaus in France and certainly one of the most unique as part of the chateau spans over the River Cher.
Construction began in the 11th Century and over the years it has been defined by an almost interrupted succession of women who built, embellished, protected and restored it, which is one of the reasons it is known as the ladies’ chateau.
Its no wonder this chateau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is such a great illustration of French Renaissance.
In 1576, Catherine de Medici re-landscaped the park and added on the two storey gallery that tops the bridge that had formerly been built by Diane de Poitiers. The gallery is 60 metres long and 6 metres wide and has 18 windows. At either end of the gallery are two large Renaissance fireplaces.
In later years in World War One the gallery was used as a hospital and nursed over 2,500 soldiers back to well being.
The gardens are immaculate and a team of gardeners grow 100 different varieties of cut flower, needed for the interior floral decorations inside the chateau and more than 400 species of roses bushes.
The maze is situated in a clearing in the 70 hectares grounds and is planted with 2000 yews covering more than one hectare. At its centre a raised gloriette offers a clear view all round.
There is plenty more to see here if you visit that we haven’t mentioned in this blog and its a great day out.
It cost 14 euros 50 per person to visit this enchanting chateau. There is plenty of parking for motorhomes and you can even take your dogs into the gardens. We would recommend taking a picnic with you or at least a drink, a small bottle of water was 3 euro 50 which we felt was a bit expensive.